By Harshana Sellahewa
State Finance Minister Eran Wickramaratne at the recent graduation ceremony of the Swinburne University opined to mo
tivate the budding professionals, describing their important role to help take Sri Lanka forward.
“Our future is actually in education. Our future is actually in the next generation,” stressed Wickramaratne at the graduation ceremony that took place at Waters Edge to confer over 270 young men and women from Nawaloka College of Higher Education (NCHE).
Swinburne is a world-ranked university leading the way in innovation, industry engagement and social inclusion, confirming its place among the top three percent of universities in the world and top three universities in Melbourne.
NCHS Chairman Jayantha Dharmadasa augmented the minister’s words by stating that NCHS has always endeavoured to support the government in developing bright young people who will take the mantle of development forward. “We are proud to have been an active contributor to the country’s knowledge-based economic growth through our education system. At a time when there is a great demand for higher quality education which meets challenging global competition NCHS has taken many steps in fulfilling this macro national agenda.”
NCHS is a venture of the highly reputed diversified conglomerate Nawaloka Holdings, which has a strong presence in the hospital, construction, manufacturing, trading, lubricant and aviation sectors.
State Finance Minister Eran Wickramaratne added: “The rule of young professionals is vital in taking this country forward. I would like to leave two points with you in my address. First thing I would like you to consider is how you balance personal success with the common good. As I was listening to the Deputy High Commissioner talking about Australia’s quality education, I thought that I must tell you Australia’s quality education must result in Sri Lanka’s prosperity. Sri Lanka’s future and prosperity actually depends on you. You have a responsibility. We live in a society where there is systemic corruption and a lack of accountability.” “Ignorance is bliss, but not virtue, so beware and be prepared as you succeed in your personal careers. You have to serve the common good and therefore ethical conduct is absolutely essential,” Wickramaratne said. “Sri Lanka will not make sustainable, equitable progress unless our young professionals are armed both with knowledge and principles.”
“The second and final point I would like to tell you is, we live in a society that is competitive. Why do we have district quotas, Z scores and various schemes in this country of ours? That is because of competition and because opportunity has not been equal. We must be aware of the fact that the world does not provide an equal playing field to all. If we bring about fair competition, we must focus on equity rather and equality. The difference is that equality is giving everybody a shoe, but making sure that the shoe fits is what equity is about. You must be aware that there are challenges ahead, young people must be the vanguard of change in this country. We are policymakers and often we use the word reform. Reform means change, and therefore progress requires change, and therefore we must remember that we are the agents of change. If we talk about reform, people resist it. The first response in our culture is that maybe there is something wrong, or people get on the street, and they hold a board. Our history is something we can be proud about, but our history also has some negatives, and one of the negatives is that we are more resistant to change than newer societies and newer countries, and therefore change is critical for progress and therefore, you are the agents of that change,” concluded Wickramaratne.